Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gray Whales and misinformation spreading like wildfire on facebook

Hi all!  I'm back and want to talk about the recent gray whale strandings here on our Washington beaches.  Today an article was published in the Seattle Times stating that some plastic debris along with other garbage was found in the stomach contents of the gray whale that washed ashore in West Seattle recently.   This is horrible to be sure, but I've noticed that several environmental groups that I follow on Facebook are now making a blanket statement that it was this that caused the death of this gray whale.  Well let's not jump to conclusions here.  It's clearly stated in the article:

"Scientists with the Cascadia Research Collective said the examination did not immediately determine why the 37-foot near-adult male died, but it was found to be in better nutritional condition than other gray whales that died recently. Starvation was not considered a major contributor to its death." -quoted from Seattle Times

I checked out the Cascadia Research own web release on this stranding this morning and found this:

"The debris while numerous, made up only 1-2% of the stomach contents and there was no clear indication it had caused the death of the animal. It did clearly indicate that the whale had been attempting to feed in industrial waters and therefore exposed to debris and contaminants present on the bottom in these areas. " -quoted from Cascadia Research website

Now if you've followed me on the web you already know where I stand on plastic pollution.  I'm completely opposed to plastics working their way into our marine environment and this is why I started my own plastic bag recycling project FatBottomBags.com  I have posted often about the harm of plastics pollution in our marine ecosystem and the garbage patch, however I am not going to jump to conclusions on the death of this whale, nor should you.

Yes, we do need to clean up our act and stop polluting our environment! Yes we need to keep our trash out of the ocean home of these majestic creatures, but let's wait on the conclusion of the scientists and researchers who work with the information, samples and data collected through necropsies of these deceased animals.

There are many ways we can help, but spreading false information and jumping to conclusions is not helping with these marine mammal strandings.  This is one reason why I'm a volunteer with the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network, to help assist those much more qualified than myself to gather information.  In addition I have a concern for these animals and a concern for the environment.

Ok, off my soap box now and on with my day.


  1. feel free to stand on your soap box anytime... until it stops it is something we need to hear

  2. I agree, Christi! Better we find the true cause than make assumptions or overstate the case. Very often it's what we hear first that we remember, not the corrected information, so the truth can easily get lost. Thanks for getting up on that soap box!

  3. Thanks for giving us some solid info. I appreciate the truth, and agree with on not jumping to conclusions.

  4. Thank you for your support!

    I've been verbally hand slapped by others for even caring whether this is cause of death or not because plastics do not belong in the bellies of whales. Of course they don't! I'm pretty sure everyone can agree to that.

    I am glad to know there are more truth seekers out there who want to know what the real reason is behind the multiple gray whale strandings that are actually happening here in my area. Only 1 of these dead whales was found with this kind of plastic debris in it's stomach.


Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear what you think!


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